People, Society & Culture of Tunbridge Wells in the 18th Century & later.

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In the Eighteenth Century
went well until 1726, in which year there was much perturbation among a certain section of the inhabitants, for the building leases (to which reference has been made in the previous chapter), granted by the Lord of the Manor fifty years earlier, expired. The landlord claimed the buildings on his freehold, but the tenants, who thought themselves entitled to a renewal of the leases, retaliated by de­manding compensation for the loss of the herbage of the waste of the manor, now covered by houses. The dispute might easily have been settled, but both parties assumed an uncompromising attitude, and recourse was had to the law courts. For years the litigation dragged on, and before terms were arranged more money had been spent than the property in dispute was worth. In the end it was adjudged that the Lord of the Manor was entitled to two-thirds of the buildings in question; the tenants, as remuneration for the loss of herbage, to the other third. The judgment may have been sound, but it was not at first sight easy to carry out. Of course the entire property might be sold, and the proceeds divided in the ratio declared; but a forced sale meant a heavy loss to the already impoverished E 2                                                                                     67
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